Get a Babysitter on Your Next Vacation
For working parents, quality time with your kids typically revolves around dinner, bedtime, and the weekends. So when you’re on vacation, it’s all about family bonding. Right? Well, try and imagine this scenario: You’re on day five of a seven-night family vacation and you just realized that while you’ve created a ridiculously fun-filled vacation for your kids, you and your spouse haven’t had one minute alone. After all, this is your vacation too.
Wouldn’t it be nice to eat at a restaurant without crayons on the table? Maybe you and your wife want to stay out past 8 pm? Heck, maybe you even want to have a conversation without being interrupted by little Jonny who wants to play another round of Angry Birds on your iPhone.
So you’re on vacation, you want alone time with your spouse and you need someone to watch your kids but you don’t know where to look. Well, fear not, for I’ve been through this myself and would like to pass along what I’ve learned.
1) Plan ahead
Hopefully, you’re not reading this while actually on day five of your vacation, flustered and at your wit’s end. OK, I know, you have little kids and planning ahead is not always possible. After all, you’re going away to spend time together. But, if you know you’re going to want some adult time, then be sure to do a little research before boarding the plane.
2) Use social media to find a babysitter
Throw it out there to your “friends” and see what comes back to you. For all you know, the girl you sat behind in math class now lives in San Diego and has a teenage daughter who is all about babysitting. This is probably your cheapest and safest option as you won’t have to pay agency prices and the babysitter will come with a personal referral.
3) Check with your hotel or resort
Many hotels provide babysitters or will refer you to a local agency. Call the concierge and ask if they provide sitters, how they hire them, and what experience, training, or security checks are required. If they use an agency, check it out online beforehand. If you can, try and get references from other parents who’ve used it in the past. I always go on Yelp for any service I’m about to book. Of course all online reviews are not created equal so trust your instinct when reading reviews.
4) Check out an online babysitting service
There are a lot of websites that offer this service. Each site provides pre-qualified sitters that are ready and willing to sit in your hotel room while you and your better half sip wine and watch the sunset. The downside is you have to pay for membership in order to contact the sitter. The upside is you can find the right sitter ahead of time and you don’t have to rely on the hotel. Check out care.com and sittercity.com. Both offer multiple membership rates depending on your needs. Again, it never hurts to spend some time on yelp.com to make sure these agencies are providing quality service. Some may even offer deals on the review site.
5) Find a resort with a kids club
I recently booked a week-long vacation with my family and one of our requirements was to find a resort with a kids club that accepted kids as young as three. We wound up going with the Hyatt in Huntington Beach. Not all clubs take kids that young. Check with your resort and see what types of activities they offer for the kids and what their day rates are. If you can’t find a sitter at night (or feel uneasy about using some random agency), you can usually drop your kids off at the club for an afternoon and sit poolside with your spouse, sipping margaritas and reading US Weekly magazine. Maybe you could even sneak in a nap. Now that’s vacation!
6) Bring your nanny with you
This is obviously your most expensive option as you’ll have to pay for additional airfare, accommodations, and daily expenses. With that said, it’ll provide the adults an easy way to enjoy alone time at various points during the vacation. You work hard and this is your vacation too. So enjoy it. As we say in my family, if you're willing to spend enough money you can always get exactly what you want.
To recap, always remember that family vacations aren't meant to be stressful. In some respects, vacationing with your family can be more tiring that going to work five days a week, especially if you have young children. So in order to make sure everyone comes home feeling rested and relaxed, be sure to treat yourself to some alone time. Do your research, find the best scenario that works for you, and book a babysitter during your next vacation. You deserve it!